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Religions 2018, 9(8), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080234

“We Are Doing Everything That Our Resources Will Allow”: The Black Church and Foundation Philanthropy, 1959–1979

Department of History, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, 219 O’Shaughnessy, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 1 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract

Contemporary wealth inequality has prompted a renewed and increased interest in the role that external funding plays in civil society. While observers frequently consider how big philanthropy influences education, politics, and social services, few historical treatments of the postwar era have addressed the interaction between foundation philanthropy and American religion. Black Christianity stands as one clear example of this oversight. Numerous studies of black life in the twentieth-century have engaged the tensions between internal prerogatives and external influences without applying those questions to black churches. This article begins that exploration by focusing on Lilly Endowment, Inc.—the most consistent twentieth-century source of foundation support for religion—and analyzing its interactions with a series of summer seminars for black ministers hosted at Virginia Union University. Though contextual changes in the latter twentieth century altered the nature of Lilly Endowment’s relationship with its recipients, two decades of collaboration reveal how black Christians exerted substantial influence over the trajectory of Lilly Endowment’s growing program in religious giving. View Full-Text
Keywords: philanthropy; Lilly Endowment, Inc.; black Christianity; Virginia Union University; civil rights; seminary education; Seabury Consultation; National Council of Churches philanthropy; Lilly Endowment, Inc.; black Christianity; Virginia Union University; civil rights; seminary education; Seabury Consultation; National Council of Churches
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Byers, P.D. “We Are Doing Everything That Our Resources Will Allow”: The Black Church and Foundation Philanthropy, 1959–1979. Religions 2018, 9, 234.

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